Blog with Springboard

The Springboard blog highlights the experiences of Jewish teens and Jewish teen professionals participating in community programs across Chicagoland and beyond. Dive into blogs about different Jewish teen events, leadership programs, trip opportunities, and more! Join us in celebrating the unique perspectives and contributions of Jewish teens and professionals in the Jewish community. To post a blog, please email

Springboard Blog

Springboard Blog

Meet BBYO’s New Associate Regional Director: Shira Rosen!

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I am so thrilled to be a part of BBYO as an Associate Regional Director and Genesis Fellow to GMR. I was born and raised in Los Angeles in a big, close family.  Judaism was always a huge part of my life. From attending Jewish day school to going to a Jewish sleep away camp in the summers, I have grown to appreciate deeply and cherish my connection. My time at Camp Ramah in California started as an infant in their Gan while my parents worked as camp doctors, to my own time as a camper, counselor and Rosh Edah (Division Head).  I loved working with staff and campers alike to plan programs, create leadership opportunities, and just have fun! In 2022, I graduated from Indiana University with a BA in psychology and minors in marketing and photography. After graduating, I spent the year in Israel teaching English to students in Rishon LeZion as a part of the Masa Israel Teaching Fellows (MITF) program.

Whatever opportunity comes my way, I strive to educate myself and make an impact on the community around me. In my recent Israel program, I attended the Masa Wilf Leadership Summit, where I learned about adaptive leadership. During this time I was also selected to be on a panel to speak to Israel’s President, Isaac Herzog, about my own Jewish leadership journey. I can lead. I can educate. But perhaps my greatest goal has been making sure that those around me can each learn enough to move forward by gaining new knowledge and leadership skills. Although I can take matters into my own hands, it is important to teach people new skills and ensure others one day will replace me. I hope that those around me also take their new confidence and experiences right back to their communities, homes, and schools. I hope that I can make others' voices heard and develop, since if I had the great fortune of family, community, education and experiences, so can I try to create connections with new communities. I am excited to be able to translate my passions and hobbies to Chicago and BBYO, and I know I will be inspired by those around me. 

When I am not working, you can often find me going on walks, trying something new, traveling, and cooking.  I have a passion for photography and finding the beauty in things around me.  I am excited to have the opportunity to explore a new city and relearn how to navigate the winter weather!  Help me explore my new Chicago home!

Shira Rosen

Knit Knot Knoop: Changing the World One Stich at a Time

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I’ll never forget the first time I learned about a knit and purl stitch. I was visiting my grandma in her apartment in Chicago and I was 8 years old. That first stitch inspired a passion for knitting that would forever connect me to my grandma, or in Russian, my babushka. My grandma immigrated to the United States from Russia 23 years ago and one of my favorite things to do is to knit alongside her while she tells me stories that her grandma once told her. 

Last year on Halloween I broke my leg and knitting was one of the only activities I could do while I recovered. It brought me great joy and comfort and I found myself wanting to give that feeling back to other people. In addition to teaching me about knitting and making Russian chicken meatballs, my grandma also taught me about doing good in the world and always being kind to people. I knew I wanted to use knitting to give back to those in need. I have always had an interest in public health and one of the greatest public health problems of our time is the homelessness crisis. While I was healing from my broken leg, I came up with the idea for Knit Knot Knoop. 

I created Knit Knot Knoop to bridge my love of knitting with my interest in fighting against homelessness in Chicago. I knitted several scarves and partnered with EZRA, an organization that works to prevent homelessness and relieve hunger, to distribute the scarves to the homeless in EZRA’s care to keep them warm during the harsh Chicago winters. I visited several nursing homes in the Chicago area and taught the residents how to knit. I loved connecting with the residents because they reminded me of my own grandma. 

This year I am working to expand Knit Knot Knoop and bring it into Hebrew schools because I want to teach people my own age not only about knitting, but more importantly, about the homelessness crisis facing the United States. As I teach people about knitting, I will also present about homelessness to inspire them to give back to their communities. I am looking forward to expanding the project and will be including information on my website about homelessness and educational knitting videos so that students far and wide can contribute.

Download a video here.

Here is how you can get involved:

  • Kids and teens in the Chicago area can learn how to knit through online videos and I will pick up the scarves to be donated to EZRA 

Kate Elterman

About the Author: Kate Elterman is a rising 8th grader at the Latin School in Chicago, Illinois. Kate studies Spanish, Russian, and Ukrainian. She is also a competitive fencer and is ranked 30th nationally. She hopes to become a dermatologist focusing on public health. Kate founded Knit Knot Knoop to educate young people about the homeless crisis through knitting.

How the Hartman Teen Fellowship Expanded my Worldview

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My name is Daniel Weisskopf, and I am a junior at Rochelle Zell Jewish High School. During the 2022-2023 school year I had the distinct privilege of learning as a Hartman Teen Fellow. This pluralistic program ran for the first time this past year as a way for North American Jewish teens from every background, including Hasidic, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, Renewal, and Unaffiliated Jews, to come together and analyze modern facets of society - from both the perspective of Jewish texts and ourselves. The program enabled teens who attend Jewish private schools and those without formal Jewish education to learn and grow together. Throughout the two shabbatonim, three trimesters of electives, and monthly beit midrashim (learning sessions), brilliant scholars taught us about identity, Jewish Peoplehood, faith and practice, ethics, and power and vulnerability. We also bonded through fun and engaging activities such as laser tag and escape rooms. Furthermore, we built relationships, forming an inclusive pluralistic Jewish community. Our relationships have continued beyond the Fellowship and have expanded our social networks.

The Hartman Teen Fellowship has taught me to expand my view of the world, be more open minded, listen to every member of society, and engage in thoughtful and respectful discourse. The skills and topics fellows learn throughout the year have a wide-reaching scope and last far beyond the duration of the program. When I arrived at the opening shabbaton, I was surprised to find a lack of participation from Chicagoland Jewish teens. I feel our community can benefit greatly from more Chicagoland Jewish teens learning from and experiencing the Hartman Teen Fellowship. It is my hope that more Jewish teens, from Chicagoland and beyond, will join me in the program in order to learn more about themselves, the diversity of North American Jewry, and the relevance of Jewish thought in the modern day. As we grow our Hartman Fellowship community, I feel confident in the future of North American Judaism.